On Wednesdays, we wear short sleeves.

For a brief, shining moment, all is right with the world.

Yes, friends, it’s 72 degrees in Charlotte on February 24, 2021. That’s why on this Wednesday, we wear short sleeves of any damn color we like. Pink, if you happen to be a Mean Girl or just look exceptionally good in it.

For those of you like me who struggle with depression and/or Seasonal Affective Disorder, pleasepleaseplease take 10 minutes today and simply sit outside. Do nothing but enjoy the warmth and the sunshine on your skin, if you like. I promise, it’s a little thing that feels so special today.

Right now, I’m sitting on my back porch listening to the dulcet tones of pug snores and the energetic bops from Kylie Minogue’s Disco album. (Yes, I’m still obsessed with it. Yes, you should listen to it if you even vaguely like pop music. Yes, I know I sound like a broken record but I promise it’s a fun album.)

I’m also thinking through my project list. The other day, one of the guys on the men’s fiber work Zoom call asked how many projects I had going. I had to stop and think because I’ve had more projects than usual lately, but I was able to honestly answer that I had three active projects: the knitting I was working on (more about that on Friday), my hexie quilt, and my crazy quilt. Though I’ve picked fabric for my next quilt, I’ve not done anything with it so it doesn’t count.

The thing is, I have to pace myself or I’ll burn myself out. In the past, I’ve found that if I take on too many graphic design jobs, it starts to feel like a chore. Something I love starts to feel like a tedious job. I don’t want that to happen with my crafts, which is why I don’t work on commission. I’d rather teach you to do it so you can enjoy it, too, than feel like it’s a burden to make you something. Does anyone else feel that way?

So, this Wednesday’s work in progress update is fairly easy: I’m working on adding four more rows to my hexie quilt.

The top three rows are already sewn together. I’m adding the row of blocks directly beneath those one at a time, then I’ll combine the whole piece to the larger bottom section.

In other news, we survived the brief addition of a third dog in the house even though Rocco the Wonder Pug was not happy to share a bed with Pablo. It made sleep difficult for all of us Monday night. But if you follow my social media, hopefully you were amused by my posts. Rocco and Pablo made an interesting pair and I enjoyed making up fun back stories about their activities. I even included my coworkers in the fun:

Until next time,
-Tommy

Scrapbusters, Part 2!

Or is that Part Deux? Dos? Zwei? Whatever – today’s the follow up to last Wednesday’s talk about minimizing my scraps.

I shared last week that one way I’m reducing my fabric scraps is by making a hexagon quilt. I’m starting to sew some of the sections together so I can free up my paper templates – with absolutely no thanks to my assistant. He has no shame, sleeping on the job!

If you look carefully, you’ll see pugs on skateboards. The fabric made super cute pajama pants!

The second way I’m ridding myself of scraps is through a crazy quilt. Generally, I find crazy quilts a little too chaotic and cluttered for my taste… but I don’t have to always love them to enjoy making one to gift. This one will likely go to my mother, who loves crazy quilts and appreciates the frugality of using what you have to make something that can be treasured for years to come. I’ve made six blocks out of 64, just as the mood strikes me to make them, so it’ll take me a while to pull it together.

If you’ve ever wondered what the inside of a creative person’s mind looks like… it clearly looks like 8.5″ crazy quilt blocks.

What I’m absolutely loving about the crazy quilt blocks is that I can sit down and Just Sew Shit Together. Besides being an excellent title for a biography of the Texas Chainsaw Killer, Just Sew Shit Together is a good philosophy for quilting. After all, if we as quilters can make something nice by bringing order from chaos without a lot of stress and aggravation, then maybe we’re headed toward Zen in creation. And best of all, we don’t have to chase people with chainsaws to make it happen.

Who wants to do all that running?

Until next time,

-Tommy

Waste not, want not

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past year, it’s that we have a lot of stuff. I don’t mean that we have a lot of valuable items, either. I mean that we have random stuff that just takes up space without really providing value. I include my yarn and fabric stash in that category.

That’s right, I don’t think my fabric or yarn stash provide value – at least, not until I do something with them. I’ve come up with plans to use my stash that will provide value:

  • Yarn that doesn’t have a fairly immediate use in a project, I don’t particularly like, or that doesn’t coordinate with anything else will be turned into charity items. Not only have I made it a personal goal to make at least one item for donation every month this year, I’ve sorted out a practical way to do it (more on that in a later post).
  • Fabric has been split into two piles. Larger scraps will be basted onto hexagonal English Paper Piecing templates because I have clearly lost my mind. Smaller scraps, including those generated by the hexie quilt leftovers, go into my crazy quilt pile.

Now, let’s talk about the EPP hexie throw project. Looking back, I have no idea what made me think, gosh, a hand sewing project that’ll take me months is clearly a good idea! I’m not sure I ever had a thought like that to begin with, especially since I’ve never particularly liked to sew by hand. But I have found that I enjoy having a portable project that doesn’t tie me to the sewing machine. I know it’ll take a while, but it’ll be worth it once this expands into a bright, colorful heirloom:

I’ve toyed with the idea of having friends send me old cotton dress shirts to include because I’m not entirely sure I’ll have enough fabric to do the top. I also hesitate to bring more fabric into the house since decluttering is tough enough already. For now, I’ll see how far I get with what I have – it’ll be a while before I really need to worry about it.

I am curious about what other quilters do to keep stashes low and organize scrap fabrics. I guess I’ll need to do some research!

Until next time…

-Tommy